Srinagar: A lawyer here filed a complaint before a court, seeking punitive action against suspended spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party Nupur Sharma and party’s expelled Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal besides two others for “blasphemous” remarks against Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
In his complaint filed before Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar and subsequently assigned by latter to City Magistrate, advocate Muhammad Ashraf Bhat seeks action against the accused for committing offences including “criminal conspiracy” and “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion”.
The complainant has sought directions for issuing process against the accused who also included Navika Kumar, Editor Times Now and Kirtima Maravoor, compliance Officer Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd. (TV Division), and punishing them for offences under sections of 120-B, 153A, 153B, 295(A), 298 & 505(2) of IPC.
“On May 26, 2022, the accused (Navika Kumar) aired a TV-Debate ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ with the intention of spreading hatred, stigmatising and demeaning the Muslim community on national television,” the complainant said, adding, “At the outset, the entire debate on ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ appeared to be one-sided and partisan violating the basic principles of journalism and those laid down by the esteemed News Broadcasting Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) where the host being completely helpful and supportive towards Nupur Sharma.”
The complainant contends that while Nupur Sharma used “inflammatory and derogatory” remarks about the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he said, Jindal endorsed the statement made by the former by publishing a tweet from his official twitter handle, “uttering similar blasphemous remarks willfully and intentionally.”
“The accused used the National Television platform to speak such vile comments targeting the Muslim Community,” he said, adding, “The statements have been made with the intention of causing enmity, hatred and ill will between religious communities and goes against the secular fabric of the Country, and the religious tolerance.”
The statement made by Navika Kumar on Prophet Muhammed (SAW), the complainant said, is “volatile of Indian law and is particularly and blatantly offensive to the Muslim community, irrespective of the context with which it was made.”
The complainant submits that the remarks amounted to “hate speech and could instigate communal violence.”
“It is an act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different groups and is likely to disturb the public tranquility.”
Referring to Supreme Court judgments, the complainant submitted that the Apex Court has stated that “hate speech lays the groundwork for broad attacks on the vulnerable that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, deportation, violence, and even to genocide.”